Executives from D.C.-based developer Akridge, investment partner Rockwood Capital, County Executive Isiah Leggett, County Councilmembers and business representatives cut the ribbon on Tuesday at Bethesda’s first new Class A office building since 2001.
Akridge and Rockwood purchased the vacant building from the General Services Administration for $12.5 million via an online auction in 2010. The company then set about replacing everything but the concrete, Akridge President Matthew Klein said, in an effort to make the building LEED Gold certified.
“We essentially recycled an entire office building,” Klein said.
Akridge recycled 50 percent of the demolition debris and used more than more than 20 percent recycled content in the rebuild, which includes large panes of glass on the west and north sides of the 120,000-square-foot building that stands less than a block from the Bethesda Metro station.
The 10-story building was built in 1964 and was once home to offices of the National Institutes of Health. It was vacant for more than eight years before the GSA put it up for auction.
Earlier this month, an Akridge spokesperson said none of the building had yet been leased, though the developer is confident in the interest the building has received so far.
For Leggett and the County Councilmembers in attendance (Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac), Nancy Floreen (D-At large), George Leventhal (D-At large) and Hans Riemer (D-At large)) the appeal of a rare new Class A office building in downtown Bethesda was obvious.
“We see that we’ve brought more vitality back to Bethesda to add to the ambience and the atmosphere that already exists here,” Leggett said. “This is the first of what I hope to be many Class A office buildings that will continue to be in the Bethesda area.”
In November, County officials celebrated the groundbreaking for construction on a 220,000-square-foot Class A office building at 4500 East-West Highway, on the former site of a McDonald’s.
“We are proud of every aspect of what this means for our community: Class A office space, smart growth, a good urban feel. The architecture in my judgement in our county is not what I aspire for it to be and I am so grateful that we have this kind of urban feel to this spot in particular,” Berliner said. “I think obviously the sustainability aspect of your project matters. We want this to be an example of what every new building in Montgomery County ought to be.”
Two of Bethesda’s three public high school girls basketball squads will get a chance to end two-time defending state champion Gaithersburg’s reign this week, as Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Walter Johnson and Whitman open up 4A West Region Semifinal games on Wednesday.
B-CC (11-13) will get the first crack at the defending champs when they travel to Gaithersburg for a 7 p.m. tip tomorrow.
If the Barons can pull off the upset of the No. 1-seeded Trojans, an all-Bethesda Region Final awaits. In the other Semifinal set for tomorrow, No. 3 seed Walter Johnson (18-5) will travel to No. 2 seed Whitman (19-4).
Whitman beat Walter Johnson twice in the regular season by a combined seven points, but Walter Johnson has won eight straight, even after losing its star center Kristen Larrick to a knee injury.
Both B-CC and Whitman fell to Gaithersburg in the regular season (Whitman lost at the buzzer). Walter Johnson, though, was able to pull out a 53-49 win against the champions back in December.
Photo via WhitmanAthletics.org
Rick Brown grew up not far from Bethesda, the son of a jazz drummer and a graduate of Blair High School who on Tuesday unveiled the multi-million dollar Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club in the revamped Bethesda Theater.
Brown’s mother graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School on the same stage in 1947. Brown went to movies in the Theater in the 1950′s. On Monday, Brown’s father (87 and still playing drums) saw the inside of his son’s club before its public grand opening on Friday.
Brown said he originally hoped to lease the property to an outside operator when he bought it two years ago. Soon, the idea of putting together the Club, along with veteran Washington music manager Ralph Camilli, turned into a special undertaking because of his family and his ties to the area. His brother, jazz pianist Larry Brown, will be the director of entertainment.
“I’m very proud of it. We were raised by a dad who was a drummer. And it wasn’t always easy,” Rick Brown said. “We had a small house with a big band coming home late at night. It’s really a blessing for me to be able to do this in this marketplace. It’s beautiful.”
A $6 million renovation in 2007 from developer Bozzuto, which built The Whitney apartments above the historic theater, helped make the transition to jazz dinner club easier, Camilli said. Still, Brown has put a major personal investment in making the Club (7719 Wisconsin Ave.) come to life.
“We feel that it’s not really a gamble,” said Brown, a Bethesda-based realtor. “We think we have the pieces in place to make this work. We think we have a quality property, great location, tremendous staff. We think that it’s a need ready to be filled.”
Montgomery Parks on Thursday will hold an open community meeting to discuss proposed playground renovations and upgrades to the Willard Avenue Neighborhood Park near the intersection of Willard Avenue and River Road in Chevy Chase.
Parks wants to put in a new playground, improve visibility of the park from River Road and add new exercise equipment along the trail. The 5.1-acre park was acquired by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 1977.
The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Village Center (4433 South Park Ave., Chevy Chase) and those interested will soon be able to provide input online at ParkProjects.org. For contact information, see Parks’ public notice for the meeting.
Image via Montgomery Parks
According to police scanner traffic, there was a group of eight suspects who participated in a smash and grab at the store, across from the Best Buy, a little after 10 a.m.
Officer Janelle Smith, a Montgomery County Police spokeswoman, said officers have just responded to the Mall. A lookout has been put out for eight black males, some of whom were wearing skull caps and dark jeans.
In November, a group of suspects stole cell phones from the AT&T Store in White Flint.
Heavy rain predicted for this afternoon has led the National Weather Service to issue a Flood Watch for most of the Washington region, including Montgomery County.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue officials are warning drivers in areas prone to flooding to be aware when the heaviest of the rain comes this evening.
… FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING…
THE FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR
* PORTIONS OF MARYLAND… THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA… INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS… IN MARYLAND… ANNE ARUNDEL… CARROLL… HOWARD… MONTGOMERY… NORTHERN BALTIMORE… PRINCE GEORGES AND SOUTHERN BALTIMORE. THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA AND FAIRFAX.
* FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING
* A PERIOD OF MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL IS EXPECTED TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING. RAINFALL TOTALS BETWEEN ONE AND TWO INCHES ARE EXPECTED.
* LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL MAY CAUSE SMALL STREAMS AND CREEKS TO RISE OUT OF THEIR BANKS… OVERFLOWING LOW LYING AND URBAN AREAS. DO NOT EVER DRIVE INTO FLOOD WATERS.
A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS.
YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP.
Leggett Says Employee Raise Necessary To Avoid Arbitration — County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) defended his recent deal with county employee unions to give workers their first pay raise in four years at the cost of about $11 million a year. Leggett said leaving matters to binding arbitration would have meant steeper costs for the county. [Washington Post]
Police Warn of Telephone Scam — Police believe three recent incidents are part of the same telephone scam. None happened in Bethesda, but one in Rockville in which the caller told a resident her son had been in a car accident and kidnapped was similar to a series of telephone scams taking advantage of elderly residents last year in Friendship Heights. [Montgomery County Police]
Bethesda Cycling Instructor Helps To Raise Money For Rare Cancer Research — Colleen Fisher, a Chevy Chase resident and group cycling instructor at Equinox on Bethesda Row, recently helped raise $176,000 as part of the Cycle For Survival. Fisher and her team cycled for the four hours of the fundraiser. [The Gazette]
Flickr photo by ehpien